HUNDREDS of Morrisons jobs are to be axed in the North as the embattled group closes loss-making stores while a former director has accused the board of being unable to run “a school tuck shop”.
The job losses come amid warnings of the demise of the crisis-hit supermarket sector as shoppers flock to discounters Aldi and Lidl. New data shows that all of the big four chains lost market share over Christmas, while sales leapt 23 per cent at Aldi and 15 per cent at Lidl.
More than half of British households visited Aldi or Lidl over the festive period, according to the latest Kantar figures.
Morrisons announced the departure of its chief executive Dalton Philips yesterday alongside the news that it will close 10 loss-making stores this year with the loss of 409 jobs.
Incoming chairman Andy Higginson said that the bulk of the job cuts will be in the North.
Analysts said more closures are likely after the Bradford-based chain admitted that it has more than 10 loss-making stores.
The sector was also hit by the news that Sainsbury’s is to axe 500 jobs as part of the latest round of cost-cutting in the supermarket industry.
The redundancies form part of a £500m cost savings plan.
Last week, Tesco boss Dave Lewis announced plans for 43 store closures and the cancellation of 49 new stores as the industry comes to terms with a continued squeeze from discounters.
Phil Dorrell, director of retail consultants Retail Remedy, said: “If other members of the big four supermarkets are the squeezed middle, Morrisons is being steamrollered flat.”
Following the news of Mr Philips’ exit yesterday and the imminent departure of retiring chairman Sir Ian Gibson, former Morrisons property director Roger Owen told the Yorkshire Evening Post that the non-executive directors have demonstrated “they are not capable of running a school tuck shop”.
Mr Owen called for a clear out of the board, which he said had presided over “a spiral of decline”.
Morrisons has been particularly hard hit because the discounters are strong in its northern heartlands and it was late to move into convenience stores and online shopping.